If you and your spouse are considering divorce, your first priority is making sure that your kids are safe and their needs are accounted for. This can be challenging if one parent is moving away or already lives long-distance. Long-distance parenting is difficult for everyone. So how do you make it work? How do you help your kids understand the situation and adjust to transition?
The best thing you can do to help your kids is to implement a long-distance parenting plan that both parents can adhere to (or at least as much as possible). Take a look at these 5 tips for making a long-distance parenting plan work from Trusted Legal Solutions.
5 Tips for Parenting Long Distance
Make the best out of your parenting plan with the following tips:
1. Prioritize Quality Time
Parents and children need quality time together – individually and as a family unit. As part of your parenting plan, prioritize quality time. That means prioritizing quality time with you and your child alone, as well as allocating time for your ex or soon-to-be ex spouse to spend time with the child without you.
If you are long-distance, try to find ways to incorporate quality time that allows the child to spend time with each parent during different experiences, holidays, events, seasons, etc. It is important for children that both parents are involved in their daily lives as well as the special events.
2. Create Visual Schedules
Long-distance parenting can be challenging to schedule and manage. Visual schedules can help keep both parents and the child(ren) up to speed on what’s happening, when, where, and how. A visual map of your plan can help you remember important dates, note locations for special events, and plan traveling if you are traveling with your child.
3. Use a Co-Parenting App
If you have a hard time communicating with your ex, consider using a co-parenting app. Apps today can help parents stay involved and up-to-date on schedules, special events, travel arrangements, and much more. Some apps allow you to track child support payments, send photographs, share social media, and get support.
4. Be Open to Change and Flexibility
Let’s face it – everything changes, especially as kids get older. As kids get older their needs and wants change, their personalities emerge, and they become more vocal. If you are parenting long-distance when your kids are young, it can be easy to fall into a routine. But be open to change and flexibility as your kids get older. Most divorced couples find that their parenting plans evolve as their kids get older and situations change. Recognizing this early on is key to co-parenting success.
5. It’s Okay to Need Help
Now more than ever we are reminded that sometimes things just don’t happen the way we think (or hope) they will. The reality is life sometimes throws things at us that we aren’t prepared for. If you are parenting long-distance and have an emergency or suddenly need to change your parenting plan or schedule, you should know that it’s okay to need help.
Talk to the other parent about the situation and see if he or she is able to help. You can also ask for help from family members if you need help with childcare or transportation. If something changes and your parenting plan no longer works, it’s okay to admit that and make changes that are healthy for everyone.
Whether you are considering divorce or need to reevaluate your current parenting plan, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you make sure that your child’s best interests and safety comes first, and that any long-distance parenting plans are designed in a way that works.